The Potted Garden: New Plants and New Approaches for Container Gardens

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New techniques, new plants, and new products--celebrate the breakthroughs changing the face of container gardening. From cutting-edge soil mixes to lightweight, winter-resistant, and decorative pots, the seemingly infinite innovations in the field add up to low maintenance and high quality. See how much more beautiful your container garden can be with these breathtaking design concepts, numerous recommendations for outstanding flowers and greenery, and inspired combinations. Every visually amazing page bursts ...
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2001 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. Never used and in great shape. (BOT112406) Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 112 p. 21st-Century Gardening Series, 168. ... Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

New techniques, new plants, and new products--celebrate the breakthroughs changing the face of container gardening. From cutting-edge soil mixes to lightweight, winter-resistant, and decorative pots, the seemingly infinite innovations in the field add up to low maintenance and high quality. See how much more beautiful your container garden can be with these breathtaking design concepts, numerous recommendations for outstanding flowers and greenery, and inspired combinations. Every visually amazing page bursts with creative and stylish ideas for herb, vegetable, hanging, water, alpine, and desert gardens. Build your own planter or window box, select antique or collectible containers, and come to terms with your climate by choosing hardy or drought-tolerant plants and implementing water survival techniques. Whether you're thinking of a single urn for a small apartment or an entire range of plantings, the only thing you won't be able to "contain" is your imagination!
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Editor Appell, director of education for the Horticultural Society of New York and author of several gardening books, presents a practical, readable, and comprehensive handbook that will bring out the green thumb in anyone. What's exciting is the inclusion of lush photos and fresh ideas for unusual plant selections and potting materials, which will appeal to gardeners of varying levels of experience. Covering the many different types of potted gardens, the text offers clear instructions on how to plant, select or build containers, and perform seasonal maintenance and offers suggestions for stunning plant combinations. A list of sources for supplies and information is provided. This very visual book does a thorough job of providing expert tips for successful results and good descriptions of the cultural requirements for the suggested plants. Highly recommended for public libraries and all collections of gardening books. Deborah A. Broocker, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Dunwoody Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781889538228
  • Publisher: Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  • Publication date: 12/31/2001
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.26 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


CONTAINER GARDENS


UNUSUAL,
ANTIQUE, AND
COLLECTIBLE
CONTAINERS


SCOTT D. APPELL

* * *


Anything that can hold soil can serve as a home for plants—which expands the selection into realms far beyond the standard terra-cotta flowerpot or ubiquitous plastic window box. Choose from a vast array of traditional, innovative, daring, whimsical, or intriguing designs ranging from lucky flea market finds to costly antiques: a discarded wicker basket, a strawberry jar, a coal bucket with a new lease on life, a leaky soup tureen, a milk crate, a footed lead urn, an authentic Ming vessel, or a Victorian chimney pot.

    A potted planting begins with the container. The container you select is as important to the overall design scheme as the plants you decide to grow in it. Delicate antique ceramic and porcelain finds (minton ware, McCoy, and majolica, for example), and jardinières, arborettes, jardinets, and cachepots make wonderfully unique planters—especially when they are overflowing with your favorite annuals and herbs. However, their fragility and expense warrants a sheltered (wind-free) spot in the garden during the summer, and, in colder climates, a frost-free spot for the winter, where they can await the next growing season emptied of plant material and soil.


STRAWBERRYJARS


Particularly favored by Victorian gardeners, the aptly named containers with the bulbous planter-pockets were popular for cultivating strawberries. Planted in the mouth at the top, strawberry plants put out stolons and form new plants that can be trained to fill the pockets below. Another familiar picture is a planting of hens and chicks (Sempervivum species), filling the pockets and creeping happily over the bare external surface of the pot. Strawberry jars are available in a variety of materials: terra-cotta, concrete, wood, and fine ceramic, including blue-decorated delftware. (You can also make your own by cutting planter holes into the sides of a staved barrel, using a door lock drill bit.) Their low center of gravity makes strawberry jars practically "tumble-free" in windstorms, but it pays to be extra careful when siting fine ceramic specimens.


JARDINIÈRES AND CACHEPOTS


The difference between jardinière and cachepot is a matter of size: Generally speaking, jardinières are wider than eight inches at the mouth. These 19th-century glazed ceramic favorites were designed as pot covers; planted clay pots would be slipped into the confines of the jardinière or cachepot. Intended as attractive time-saving devices, they made the horticultural housekeeping chore of scrubbing off the soluble salts, algae, and molds from the exterior surfaces of earthenware flowerpots superfluous. Plastic had not yet been invented!

    There are several ways to use jardinières and cachepots for modern container gardens. You can slip flower- or herb-filled plastic or clay pots into them, but the lack of drainage holes is a serious disadvantage. To keep the jardinière or cachepot from flooding every time you water the plant, you really should remove the inserted pot, water the plant, let it drain, and replace the pot. If that sounds too time-consuming, you might consider drilling drainage holes in the bottom of the piece, using a carbide-tipped concrete or porcelain drill bit (readily available at hardware stores). The jardinière or cachepot now functions in the same way as any freely draining decorative container. Another option for the clever gardener is to use the lack of drainage as an asset and cultivate moisture-loving plants like papyrus (Cyperus papyrus), calamus (Acorus calamus), and umbrella plant (Cyperus alternifolius). Or perhaps use a large jardinière for a miniature water garden.


ARBORETTES AND JARDINETS


Jardinets are glazed ceramic pieces designed to look like small (eight to 18 inches tall), moss-covered, hollow tree stumps. Much taller, and made of molded terra-cotta, arborettes are far more elaborate tree-like structures with multiple branches that end in planting holes. They are marvelous to behold and quite collectable. Try placing them where their unusual features can be appreciated: at, or just below, eye level works best. Originally designed to hold forced spring-flowering bulbs, arborettes and jardinets are useful outdoors, as well. Plant them with delicate ferns (Adiantum or Pteris species) and set them on a shady garden table, or with lobelia (Lobelia species) or creeping zinnia (Sanvitalia procumbens) in a sunny nook on an étagère. In areas with cold winters, these unique containers should be brought indoors at the end of the gardening season.


TROUGHS


Trough gardens aren't all that unusual, but how about making your own? Give homemade samples an artistic edge by using uncommonly shaped plastic containers as the initial mold. To achieve a tall, narrow trough, mold "hypertufa" mix (see "Water Gardens in Small Containers," page 34, for instructions) over a plastic water bottle with the narrow neck removed. For a squat trough, take an empty gallon milk jug, also with the top and handle removed. Before planting, make sure to drill drainage holes in the bottom of your homemade trough.


BASKETS


Baskets are by far the most beloved and familiar containers for planting. Whether they are recycled curios, garage sale gems, or newly requisitioned dime store finds, they make decorative containers thanks to their natural coloration and interesting textures—which offset the flowers and foliage of innumerable plants. The more a basket is protected from the elements and from the harmful effects of frequent watering, the longer it will last. So, it's a good idea to treat valuable and collectable basketware with a varnish, polyurethane, or some other protective coating. To prevent major soil leakage and root exposure, you need to line the basket before planting, a simple task requiring sheet moss (from a florist supply house), sturdy clear or black sheet plastic (from a hardware store), and potting soil. First line the selected basket with the moss, decorative side out. Spread the plastic sheeting over the moss, making sure to punch drainage holes at regular intervals using an ice pick or other pointy tool. Fill the lined basket with soil and plant in the usual fashion. To prolong the life of the basket, remove the liner at the end of the gardening season, empty out the soil, and store the basket in a cool, dry place for the winter.


PLANTING A
STRAWBERRY JAR


Due to their unique shape, strawberry jars require a special planting technique. Inevitably, in the center of the jar there is a shaft of poorly drained, root-free soil that remains damp at all times, allowing the spread of fungal pathogens, which lead to root rot. To avoid the problem, you need to install a drainage column made up of a mixture of pea gravel (tiny pebbles) and horticultural charcoal (there is no exact recipe; a mixture of approximately one part charcoal to nine parts gravel works well). The important tool for this procedure is a tube that is long enough to reach from the mouth of the jar all the way to the bottom. For example, a cardboard toilet paper tube may be just the right height for a tiny porcelain strawberry jar; a cardboard paper towel tube may work for a pot of medium height; and a length of plastic pipe (from the local hardware store) can be cut to fit any large-size container.

    Installation is simple, though an extra set of hands may be helpful—especially for large pots: Center and stand the empty tube upright inside the strawberry jar (the extra set of hands can hold the tube in place). Place a shallow layer of the pea gravel and charcoal mixture at the bottom of the pot surrounding the tube. Fill the tube with the pea gravel mixture as well. Then begin to fill the jar with potting soil and plant the pockets starting with the lowest, and work upwards to several inches below the rim of the jar. Gently give the strawberry jar a sharp rap on the potting table to settle the soil. Carefully remove the tube from the soil, leaving the vertical column of pea gravel and charcoal behind. Finally, plant in the open mouth of the jar, then water.


Excerpted from THE POTTED GARDEN by . Copyright © 2001 by Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Inc.. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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